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Vote to elect Council leader fails

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jacob williamsA NOTICE of Motion from Cllr Jacob Williams to elect the Council leader annually was narrowly defeated by one vote of 29 votes to 28 at Thursday’s meeting. Cllr Williams said: “At the moment we elect the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Planning and Licensing heads and this motion seeks to add the leader to that list. The leader is elected at the AGM and he/ she remains in post till he/ she resigns or is no longer a councillor. Any incumbent, if they were unsuccessful in seeking re-election, would only be because a majority failed to have confidence in him or her. Introducing an annual election will address the weakness and accountability of this council. “Some believe it is best to have someone who has been there for a long time and someone that has confidence of councillors. There is a difference – continuity should be earned by an annual election at the AGM. This isn’t extraordinary – we could also add the leader and cabinet members but this is just to elect the leader.”

Council leader Jamie Adams responded: “I am not convinced of the notice of motion. It will always be the largest group that provides the leader of the council, and the best opportunity for influencing the leader of this council would be to join the Independent group. “The role of leader is something that one person cannot commit to for a short period of time. We complete the budget process in March, and would vote for a leader in May, and that is dangerous. “The leader does have to make unpopular, pragmatic decisions, and that requires a longer term.

I remain convinced that the role of leader does require that commitment. My group has the option to remove me if they wish and that provides the democratic accountability. Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “This notice of motion makes it less likely that we will have votes of no confidence. An annual vote will only take place if someone stands against them. This will only take place if there is a chance of a meaningful vote. “At the moment we don’t have the opportunity, we had it when we first formed and from thereon in we are stuck.

I do not think this is democracy and it is not the right way of doing something about it. “If our leader wins the election he will be able to see he has the backing of the council, without that confidence the leader is frightened of being challenged by people in this council”. Cllr Tessa Hodgson said: “I am quite surprised that the leader doesn’t welcome this motion. It suggests that he is not confident that he has the backing of other councillors”.

Cllr Reg Owens said: “When we passed the earlier item 6 on this agenda this was one more step to more openness for Pembrokeshire County Council. Also the exit of the chief executive is going to ensure more openness and this motion will extend that even more. “If the leader is against this then he lacks confidence. If we are brave enough to pass this today, it will only be good for Pembrokeshire”. Cllr Sue Perkins said: “This is the most ridiculous notice of motion I have ever read. Continuity is the most important thing.

There are a huge amount of things to learn, it’s not going to take 2-3 months. Cllr Tom Tudor said: “I can’t see what the problem is here. We should embrace this notice of motion to show the people of Pembrokeshire that Pembrokeshire County Council is trying to get away from the past and be more transparent. I would strongly urge members to vote in favour of this motion and instil some confidence back in the people. Cllr David Lloyd said: “I would invite the leader to take on this challenge and have the courage to do so.

He has nothing to lose. I would ask him to take this challenge and win our support. Cllr Paul Miller added an amendment to the original notice of motion to add the election of Cabinet members as well as the Leader but that was defeated by 37 votes to 20. Cllr Williams summed up saying: “There was talk of continuity. We are talking about Pembrokeshire County Council here. Let us take time to recall that we had 18 years of continuity under the Chief Executive and look where that has led us”. Cllr Williams motion was defeated by 29 votes to 28 with Cllr Steve Yelland casting the deciding vote.

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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